The riders will pedal for almost 14km through some of the city's remaining Roman monuments. La Maison, a temple built in the year 17BC will serve as the starting point for the teams. Riders and spectators alike will also enjoy watching the bicycle chariots parade through Les Arènes, an amphitheatre that is over 2000 years old, currently used for bullfights as well as other cultural activities, (open-air cinema, concerts and theatre productions), in order to recreate and relive the city's Roman past. On the 19th of August, the city will be able to add another show to its historical repertoire, the 2017 Vuelta.
Nimes and the Rhône Delta
Time trials and urban stages seem less rich in geo-diversity, but every city has a geological history without which it would not be what it is today.
Nimes is located on the edges of the Rhône Delta, resting on the reliefs that surround it. To the West and North-West of the city are the reliefs of the Region of Cévennes, part of the French Massif Central where the rocks that were used to build most of the city's monuments come from.
On the other side, the city is close to the delta, where agriculture can prove highly efficient due to the conditions of that particular ecosystem. But Nimes is far enough from the water so as to not be affected by overflowing rivers. Even nowadays, with a multitude of reservoirs in the Rhône and in its tributaries, floods mark the history of human populations. It may seem like a trivial detail, but even given its location at the edges of the delta, Nimes did suffer very serious floods in 1988 and the neighbouring city of Arles, right in the delta's centre, has had many more floods, such as the one it suffered in 2003 that led to the evacuation of over 15.000 people.
A delta formation requires a river that carries a large amount of sediments and an adequate coast so that the waves, currents and tides allow the accumulation of those sediments to take place. The Rhône River originates in the Alps. Over the space of 800km, it goes from an altitude of almost 2000 metres above sea level where it originates, down to the Rhône Glacier and to the Mediterranean. Such an incline gives the river a huge capacity for erosion and its sediments have shaped the landscapes that surround the city of Nimes.
Stage Term: River DeltaA delta is an accumulation of sediments where a river flows out into a sea or lake. This accumulation is possible when the area's marine waves and currents are unable to transport all the river sediments to other coastal areas or to the seabeds. Due to their mild reliefs, the abundance of water and rich soil, early civilisations chose to settle near deltas. That is why cities such as Alexandria (in the Nile) and New Orleans (in the Mississippi) are located in the deltas or right on the edges.
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